Blood in the bathtub: 7.5 million Baby Shark toys recalled due to horrific injuries

Originally published at: Blood in the bathtub: 7.5 million Baby Shark toys recalled due to horrific injuries | Boing Boing

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I remember having a wind up gold fish like that when I was little. I guess it didn’t have anything too pointy on it!


12 reports of children, falling or sitting on the toys, sharp, dorsal, fin, resulting in impairment, injuries, lacerations, and puncture wounds, to “genital, anorectal and facial areas. Nine of the incidents required stitches or medical attention.”

Ouch. But . . .


Should have gone with the Jamie Tartt.


Goes to show how difficult toy design must be. Kids can hurt themselves in so many ways.


A recall was probably the right thing to do, and certainly the correct choice from a litigation avoidance strategy perspective. Still, if my child had one of these, I’m not sure I’d lose too much sleep over a 0.00016% chance of injury (though it may be somewhat higher, since some, even most, injuries may have gone unreported).

If they were indifferent to the toy, I might toss it out (or return it as part of the recall). However if it were a cherished possession, I’d probably just take this as something to be cautious about and leave it at that.


That’s the thing about public health and safety though. It’s always a reverse lottery fallacy to look at it that way. The percentage chance of dying from COVID was super low too, but in a global population, that’s still millions of people.

The odds of any one of us being affected are very low in most things, because we’re optimizing the edge cases of safety these days. All the really bad and obvious stuff got fixed a long time ago. However, 1000 people getting hurt is a thousand people that didn’t need to, and if one of those is your loved one, it matters a whole lot.

This is why we have an ethical obligation to continue improving safety in all things, even if it seems like diminishing returns and overabundance of caution sometimes.


I don’t disagree with you. At the macro level, issuing the recall is probably the right call. Even though the number of injuries are small, there’s a clear correlation, and the overall utility of these particular toys to society is small, so there’s not much downside to getting rid of them.

At an individual level, though, the calculus can be different. While there may be little reason for society as a whole to tolerate even such a small risk, as an individual I have to tolerate many things with much greater risk on a daily basis (all parents do). Similarly, while the utility of this toy to society as a whole is negligible, to an individual child it could be quite high (i.e., a favorite toy) such that the negative impact of getting rid of it outweighs the risk.

This is all purely speculative, though. My children are far too old to care about this toy. Instead, I’m much closer to needing to worry about them hurling themselves down the road in two-ton metal boxes.


Yah I actually agree that as individuals, people are perhaps a little too risk averse (or at least that’s how I interpreted what you said- forgive me if I’m putting words in your mouth).

Public health and safety is good, but I think it’s not good to have everyone going around disinfecting everything they touch, using paper toilet seat covers thinking it prevents disease, and other irrational paranoias.

Humans are very bad at grokking really big numbers and really small numbers. Some parent might freak out at that tiny shark toy risk for the same reason people buy lottery tickets. We really don’t understand those numbers.

It might sound like a contradiction, but I think it’s reasonable to recall the shark toys, but also any parent who has one doesn’t need to panic and throw it away immediately. Their kid will be fine. Some kid won’t be. Probabilities are weird.:smile:


When I was a kid my sister threw the cat in the bathtub with me. That wasn’t pretty. Sometimes a thing is fun and cute, but just not a great bath toy.


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